Honoring Donors in National Donate Life Month: Meko Nelson  |  April 10, 2014

mekoThough Meko’s life was short, his impact is long lasting because his parents made the selfless decision to donate his tissue. Meko was able to touch the lives of many through a very special type of knee transplant that utilizes juvenile cartilage allograft tissue to treat focal articular defects in the knee, foot, ankle, elbow, shoulder and hip joints.

The 8-month-old’s precious gift has given new hope and transformed the quality of life for:

-a 23-year-old man in Denver, CO

-a 33-year-old man in Thomaston, GA

-a 40-year-old woman in Skokie, IL

-a 24-year-old woman in Omaha, NE

-a 48-year-old woman in Edgewood, KY

…and 68 other individuals of all ages across the United States

His family takes comfort in knowing that Meko’s donation improved so many lives.

The Need for Tissue Donors Rising  |  April 3, 2014

newdonationpicNearly 1 million tissue transplants are performed every year, and the need for life-saving and life-enhancing donated tissue is on the rise. Donated tissue is used in a variety of medical procedures that can save limbs, heal burns, repair joints and more.

Exciting developments in the medical field have created more ways to maximize the gift of donated tissue, but with new discoveries comes a growing call for tissue donors.

A recent article by The Telegram & Gazette explores the need for more people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.

Organ Procurement Organizations Work to Streamline Process  |  March 27, 2014

Four organ procurement organizations, Donor Alliance (Denver), Mid-America Transplant Services (St. Louis), Gift of Life (Ann Arbor), and the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (Pittsburgh), have opened separate recovery centers to increase efficiency and lower the cost of the complex donation process.

Staff members from the organ procurement organization (OPO) will transport the donor to the OPO’s surgical suite to perform the organ recovery, as opposed to waiting for an available operating room at a hospital. A separate recovery center frees up hospital space and personnel for emergencies and critical care.

Surgeons travel to the recovery center to recover the organs and then take them to transplant hospitals for placement. Mid-America Transplant Services reports that processing a donor at their own facility costs between 45% and 50% less than using the donor hospital.

The new recovery centers allow donor families to start the funeral process earlier and several OPOs offer donor family waiting rooms so families can be with their loved one longer.

Read more about this innovative way to honor the gift of donation here.

Fast Fact: Tissue Banks  |  January 17, 2014

The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) governs tissue banks in the United States. NOTA dictates that tissues cannot be bought or sold. The law allows for reimbursement of the costs related to the recovery, processing and storing of tissue. It also allows for reimbursement of costs associated with development related to tissue processing technologies. The value of donated tissue is priceless, and reimbursements reflect the expenses incurred with their recovery, processing and storage.

Source: American Association of Tissue Banks.

Professor Howard Green: Pushing the boundaries of regenerative medicine since 1983  |  October 23, 2013

Howard GreenHarvard Medical School professor Howard Green is an innovator and pioneer. In 1983, he changed the culture and direction of burn treatment and skin transplantation and has since, positively affected countless people’s lives.

Professor Green was able to harness the power of stem cells and developed the first therapeutic use of cells grown in a lab providing hope and relief for severe burn victims.

After realizing the importance and magnitude of his research, Professor Green responded by founding Biosurface Technology to handle the commercialization of the process intending to maximize the reach of his life-changing discovery.

Professor Green’s story is truly an inspiration, read the full Harvard Gazette article HERE.

Tissue Recipient Shares Story  |  April 25, 2013

One year ago, Joseph Gutierrez was unsure if he would ever be an active individual again. Thanks to a gift from a generous donor, Joe is not only physically active, but also active in spreading the word about organ and tissue donation. For Donate Life Month, Joe took to the local news station to tell his personal story about the healing effects of donation.

Donation Heals Wounds  |  April 24, 2013

Donation is truly a gift.  The many ways a single donor can save and enhance the lives of others becomes vaster as science advances.  One way that donors of any age, shape or size can heal others is through donating skin.  Skin serves a wide variety of healing purposes.  In the article linked below, we see how skin helps heal those suffering from severe wounds.  In this particular case, when other methods failed, donor skin was the last hope for healing. 

To all those who are registered donors or have a family member who donated, the gift of donation truly does heal and save. 

Healing Skin

Friday Factoid:  |  January 18, 2013

Friday Factoid:

Your life is valued first.

If you are taken to the hospital after an accident or injury, it is the hospital’s first priority to save you.  Only after each and every effort has been made to save your life and death has been declared is it even addressed that you are a donor.

Happy Friday!!!

Friday Factoid: Friday Fun Addition!  |  December 14, 2012

Friday Fun:

So this isn’t technically a factoid, but we thought it was so much fun that it needed to be posted on a Friday.

Follow this link, scroll over the interactive figure and find out what each part of the body is used for when donated. You’ll learn a lot of “factoids,” and even have some Friday fun in the process!

Previously Blind Photographers Thank Donors Through Pictures  |  November 14, 2012

To honor organ, eye and tissue donors, The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank is exhibiting photos taken by once blind photographers.  The cornea transplant recipients were asked to take pictures of what they are most grateful to see after the surgery.  In what has been named the Circle of Light Photo Project, the Eye Bank aims to thank donors through the beauty the recipients can now see. 

See details on the location, dates and times for the exhibit in the link here.

Friday Factoid:  |  November 9, 2012

Friday Factoid:
Saying you want to be an organ and tissue donor on your license may not satisfy your state’s requirements to become a donor. Always make sure your family knows your wishes!

Happy Friday!

Seven Amazing Face Transplants  |  November 7, 2012

What medicine is capable of these days is truly astounding. These seven stories will remind you just how much donation can do.

Friday Factoid:  |  November 2, 2012

Did you know that nearly every major religion endorses organ and tissue donation and sites it is a noble act?


Bone Recipient Heads to Rose Parade  |  October 26, 2012

Salmon fishing in Alaska, traveling throughout the country and even sky diving are all activities enjoyed today by Joe.  When Joe talks about his active life, it’s hard to tell that less than a year ago, he was at risk of losing his arm.

“I was helping friends with yard work in Arizona when I noticed a pain in my arm,” said Joe.  “At the time, I thought I had pulled something.”

Joe went about his daily life until the pain grew so bad, he could no longer lift his arm higher than his waist. Thinking he had a torn rotator cuff, he went to his personal doctor for x-rays.

After the doctor took the x-rays he didn’t say much, he simply told me things were likely a lot more serious than we had thought,” said Joe.

Joe’s doctor referred to an orthopedist, who then referred him to Dr. Cynthia Kelly with The Denver Clinic for Extremities at Risk, as well as the Limb Preservation Foundation. 

“He told me she was the best around,” said Joe.


Breast Cancer Survivor’s Recipient Story  |  October 24, 2012

In keeping with the theme of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here’s a great story from Lifeline of Ohio about a breast cancer survivor opting to use donor tissue in her reconstructive surgery.  Enjoy here!

Friday Factoid:  |  October 19, 2012

Friday Factoid:
This Friday factoid is in honor of breast cancer awareness month! 

Did you know that donated tissue can be used to help reconstruct a woman’s breast tissue after undergoing surgery for breast cancer?

It’s just one of the many great things donated tissue can do.

Friday Factoid!  |  October 12, 2012

Did you know that donated skin saves the lives of burn victims and victims of other life-threatening skin conditions?

Happy Friday!

Congratulations are In Order!  |  October 11, 2012

Congratulations to all those who were honored by the American Association of Tissue Banks.  Your contributions to honoring the gift of donation are appreciated by your industry, recipients and donor families.  See the list of winners below!

Congratulations 2012 AATB Award Winners

 At the 2012 AATB Annual Meeting in Keystone, CO, the AATB recognized the following award winners. Please join us in congratulating them on their accomplishments.

Annual Association Awards

Jeanne C. Mowe Distinguished Service Award
David Gocke, MD

Medical Director, Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation

 Kenneth W. Sell Memorial Award

Charles Sims, MD

Medical Director, California Cryobank, Inc.

 George W. Hyatt Memorial Award

Lennox Archibald, MD, PhD


Congrats to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs!  |  October 3, 2012


Memorial Hospital facilitated the most tissue donations of any hospital in Colorado last year, earning recognition for this life-saving work from the Colorado Hospital Association and Donor Alliance.

Memorial was recognized for its “outstanding efforts in promoting organ and tissue donation in Colorado.’’ Donor Alliance’s COO Jennifer Prinz and CHA President and CEO Steven Summer presented the award during the 87th annual meeting of CHA in Vail.

Donor Alliance and CHA created the awards in recognition of the commitment of Colorado hospitals, medical centers and health care professionals to saving lives through organ and tissue donation.

Memorial, now a part of University of Colorado Health, facilitated the most tissue donations in 2011 with 58 donors, as well as 11 organ donors, resulting in 36 organs transplanted. Each donor has the potential to save up to eight lives through organ donation and save and heal more than 100 through the gift of tissue donation. Last year in Colorado 134 organ donors and 966 tissue donors provided vital organs and healing tissue to thousands in need.

Honoring the Gift of Donation  |  September 28, 2012

The AlloSource mission statement begins with Honoring the gift of donation, so when designing a tour of its new headquarter campus, honoring donors and donor families was front and center for the company.  Pictured beside their son Cameron’s tribute are donor parents, Rob and Lori, as well as their niece Paige.  After speaking at the grand opening, the family toured the building, and stopped to reflect by their son’s story and photos.  To read about Cameron and his family, see our OPO Resources page, and click on Cameron’s story.

Colorado Governor Names September 21 Tissue Donor and Recipient Day!  |  September 25, 2012

In recognition of AlloSource’s headquarter campus grand opening, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper designated September 21 Tissue Donor and Recipient Day in Colorado each year.  Read more about the story here.

Nation’s Third-Largest Tissue Bank Opens New Campus Headquarters  |  September 21, 2012

AlloSource, one of the nation’s largest non-profit providers of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures and the world’s largest processor of cellular bone allografts, today celebrated the opening of its new headquarter campus in Centennial, Colorado.  See coverage of the story in the video below.

The Importance of Donated Tissue  |  August 23, 2012

With the emphasis on ever-needed organ donation, the importance of tissue donation often gets lost.   Guest writing a colum for Autismspeaks.org, Jill James, PhD, director of the Autism Metabolic Genomics Laboratory at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, discusses the critcal role tissue donation plays in learning more about harmful diseases.  Find out what  discoveries she made through donated tissue here.

Social Media’s Humanitarian Successes  |  May 22, 2012

Social media is often criticized for its suspected negative impact on society and today’s youth.  With the recent success of the organ and tissue donation section to Facebook however, many are rethinking their former stance and looking at the positive impact social media is having on the world at large.  The article posted below talks about some of social media’s greatest humanitarian achievements thus far in 2012. Check it out here.

What you should know about tissue and organ donation  |  March 15, 2012

The National Kidney Foundation printed these 25 great facts about organ and tissue donation. Take a look and have your donation questions answered here.